the great nothingness

Between Still and Flow

there’s this place

full of discomfort
where nothing happens

the void is full of empty
cavernous
displaced

It echos of abandonment and loss
hopelessness ricochets off the walls
pain and shame grafiitti mark my thoughts

the momentum of stopping
reverberates in my addicted to busy, unfilled mind
what am I doing
what is my purpose
I am left only with a quiet glow of existing
is that enough
am I enough
am I ok

in the still of the end
waiting for the beginning
the gaping stretch of nothingness
the roar of my pounding heart
reaching, grasping, longing

for something
anything
to fill the void

how still can I be
how long can I be still
resisting the urgency to fill, to flow, to go, to know

being human
human be-ing
doing no thing

identity death
future theft
only now and here
present in presence

people long for this quiet
they pay for this shit
a never ending sunset
going
slowly nowhere

timeless stillness immersion

suspended in the breaths of still

and when I really don’t know
when I really let go
when the stitched threads snap
and I wash up lungs first at undone

that is when I arrive
shadows howl at their release
memories spill the banks
emotions revel in their freedom

the silent flood is heard in the stillness
the eye of the storm being me
true wild nature set properly free

I don’t run
I don’t hide
it’s only me inside
meeting the me I have been waiting for

witnessing my own death
between stillness and my prayers founding the new coming flow67084368_10155914779631685_2953545779920240640_n.jpg

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Dancing Ghosts

Last week in my class we danced with the past, we invited our ghosts in to move us and to integrate into our being. I was so inspired after class this piece of writing flew out of me….

 

the past,
she’s outdone me
spun me
hung me out to dry

I’ve died one thousand deaths to be standing here alive

this night
I dance with my past
I honour her power
her vast history
crashing at my shore

I adore her
for the now I have become
embracing backwards
the past unfolds me
dancing ghosts
waltz me
I sing back to you, banshee souls
together we become one

I do not dwell
nor do I rebel

peacefully
passionately
gracefully
appreciatively

we dance entwined
my past and I
as time merges
enhancing her
meaning and purpose

warrior of light
laws of nature
all mighty
each activating cell radiating brightly

honour integration
we dance into the night
glorious ascension of light and life

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Positive Reflection

Just found this on the internet whilst googling myself, as you do! I never knew it was videoed, let alone on line. I was presenting at an Arts in Health Conference, sharing some of the work I do with hospital staff and 5Rhythms. At the time I was quite harsh on myself as I find dancing much more my comfort zone than public speaking about dancing.  It felt like the audience wasn’t very responsive but seeing it now I can witness them engaging in the hand Wave and seemingly having some fun. It is always interesting to view oneself with perspective. Anyone else had an experience where post reflection was totally different to your memory of it at the time?

 

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beauty in the bird song

I’m currently teaching the 5Rhythm element map in a series in my garden studio. I love this Mandala it’s one of my favourites as it bonds us directly and profoundly with nature. Being in relationship with nature helps me stay present. It is a meditation of its own. During our dance with Earth/Flowing last week I was gifted with a message to ‘see what was in front of me’. I am practicing this. Being truly present to where I am in each moment and really seeing what is around me, what is in front of my eyes right now. In doing so I have heard so much bird song. it is so beautiful and magical. In the Seeing I have received and deepened my Listening. How good is that? Nature loves it when we listen to her. Here’s a little clip inspired by this week of dancing, seeing and listening. I love the windy trees outside……

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turning suffering into art

some days are just hard. after a heavy day of crying, writing, crying, dancing, crying, music mixing and crying some more this was the outcome of the day that fully helped me shift gears.

 

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When we can’t dance

I cannot imagine living in a country where dance is illegal

Or being part of a family that rejects dance as a life choice. Or being told that dance is only for a person of a certain gender or body type or abilty. WTF?

Like me, I know for you too that dance is a saviour. She is my life partner and I never see that changing. I usually dance every day. It’s like taking vitamins. But as we all know, sometimes we slip up or lose routine, travel or distractions eventuate in some missed dosage and before we know it something has slipped, Oh Yeh, I haven’t been dancing! This time it was knee surgery. No dance for a month then minimal easy return to the dance floor over two months. That’s a lot of missed vitamins. Pacing myself is most definitely a practice requiring conscious patience, trust and surrender. I’m still a beginner! You know that feeling when you completely surrender yourself to the dance with your whole body, mind and spirit. I want that. I miss that. I ache for that. What I have learnt is to be grateful for the movement I do have and to be present to what is moving now and to release expectations of what a ‘proper’ dance is. Basic general ongoing life practice stuff with an opportunity to deepen my experience through my current situation.

Sometimes we have to really miss something to know how important it is to us. Each time we come to dance it is a sacred offering. A creative moment in our lives to reconnect deeply with our essence, our truth and renew our vows of self acceptance, forgiveness and love.

In whatever way we can move, we can dance. We don’t need to wait to be stronger, happier, healthier. We don’t need to wait for the right class, teacher, song. Being in our bodies right now as they are is a sacred act. Showing up for ourselves takes courage and discipline. When we can’t dance is the most holy time to dance.

Big Love x

 

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Step in, Step up

circle-rock-art

It is not only our rite but our responsibility to take our place in the circle. Each of us belong and have an important position, for without us the circle would not be complete. Some of us shy away and play invisible whilst others of us present boldly and stridently. We each  believe we are meeting ourselves and the world with our best foot forward, however, both methods exclude others and isolate ourselves and are not serving the greater good.

Our Circles need to be round and balanced to be whole and powerful. They require each of us to be aware we are vital components of the universal cell.  When we isolate we are not doing our part for the whole circle of humanity. When we meet ourselves in our full truth and potential we are uniting human evolution to its fullest potential and expanding group consciousness circle by circle by circle. Whatever circles you are in, step up, stand clearly, for you have a place side by side your warriors, healers, players, makers and activators.

Each of us is responsible to stand as we are, who we are and fulfil our place in the circle. It is not just our rite but our responsibility.

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Dancing in the Darkness

As a 5Rhythms® teacher I tell myself that I need to have my shit together and be a strong, capable, evolved human that can move into and through anything that throws me off balance. I have a story that I ‘should’ be able to not get hooked into my stories and that I ‘should’ be able to see what’s really going on and have the capacity and skills to shift myself from negativity to positivity. Well, I guess I just demonstrated my weakness by admitting these ridiculously high personal expectations.

I am human. I fuck up. I get depressed.

“My mind is a dangerous neighbourhood I try never to enter alone”

Anne Lamott via Sweat your Prayers.

This Winter I have taught several darkness and shadow themed workshops. I have been riding a shady dragon into an abyss of the depths of my darkness, my aloneness, my pain and my unresolved life stories. I have allowed Winter to expose me like the leaf-fallen trees. Turning inward, I have sat vulnerable and cold in my ‘stuff’ and questioned if things will ever change? I have died over and over and left myself to rot in the decay that is my undoing. There is a comfort to recognising the bottom, to feeling the hard ground break the endless falling. It is almost peaceful to know that in the darkest chaos transformation awaits. I have travelled deeply into my darkness this Winter, I have remained committed to the task of seeing how far down I could go. I have stayed steadfast, neither straying or escaping. I have achieved greatness in the embodiment of ‘what’s wrong with me?’ I have witnessed great suffering. Thank goodness, I have danced. I have danced. I have danced. I have allowed myself to drown, to feel deeply, to wail. I have kept showing up to work, to hold space for others in my truth admist my own journey. I can be nothing more than who I am and sometimes all I have to offer is how I navigate through my own experience, partnered, held and liberated by my dance. Sometimes it’s all I’ve got and often it’s all I need. I dance in my darkness and I trust. I trust that this too will pass and I trust that sharing my process offers you something and that is my teaching and that that is enough. I trust in cycles, in the Wave, in my practice enough to dance in my darkness as long as it takes before I crack and a shard of light can penetrate. This ‘feeling deeply thing’ can be a lonely journey but I know I am not alone. Many of us ride our dragons solo into our Inner Winter Wastelands. Some of us don’t come back, some of us get lost, some of us find a short cut. As a seasoned traveller I can share the road with you. We can share the dance however you are. When you least feel like coming to class could well be when you most need to. I have no pretty images or uplifting quotes to add but I do have this song to share with you. I have danced with it many times these last few months.

Don’t stop dancing in your darkness. Your truth is radiantly beautiful.

See you on the dance floor X.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdoYYv8UMr0

“I believe in the power of motion 
the wisdom of gravity, the emptiness of true love, 
the fact that there is no way out but through the body 
no way up unless we all go together 
no way down unless we follow the beat 
no way in unless we embrace the dark

”

Gabrielle Roth

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Moving

‘They’ say it’s one of the most stressful times and I guess that’s sort of true. Difficult for me to moderate as this particular move has been super complicated. Maybe it’s been too fast, maybe it wasn’t the right time, maybe I’m just getting too old to uproot. There have certainly been a lot of maybes to weigh up and it took me a year to decide. Something had to move. A decision had to be made and this was one of my hardest. I reached a point where the weighing up was making me crazy and I just needed to move. Move forward, move into the unknown, move into the change. Moving house and Moving states was the outcome of Moving stuff that had been sitting stuck. Indecision does not move. Change catalyses movement and movement catalyses change. Change is stressful and exciting and unknown. Change changes stuff. ‘When we move, our stuff gets rearranged.’ This applies to moving house and to when we move on the dance floor. ‘When we move, our stuff gets rearranged.’ The process of realigning after chaos brings growth, insight and new possibility. Only received by moving through the change. Moving house has this momentum that takes over and the only way out is through. Like when we dance a 5Rhythms Wave and we really surrender. If I can really give in to the dance the way I had to really give in to the process of moving house then I can fall deeply into the chaos, the mess, the everything all at once, the too much to handle, the uncontrollable, the losing my shit. And if I let go of all those balls I have in the air I can create an opportunity to transition, to reawaken, to re-wire, to renew. No wonder ‘they’ say it’s stressful. Trying to manage all that produces overwhelm and fatigue but if we keep moving with the momentum, move into the change and trust the Chaos, Lyrical will meet us eventually. Fingers and toes crossed!

 

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Holding Space

My students tell me I do this well so I decided to investigate what it is that I actually do. Some of it is conscious and some is intuitive. Here’s what I learnt about my own process.

holding space

Holding Space for YOU starts with holding space for ME. That’s a daily practice of me connecting to myself. That’s about me showing up regularly on the dance floor, sometimes at home alone and sometimes with community in class. Holding space for me is about the discipline of my own practice. I notice how I move through the Rhythms and I notice where I get stuck. I spend time researching those stuck places in the dance, through writing and through observing myself in daily life. And it also happens the other way around. I get ‘stuck’ in life. Maybe it’s a situation with my children, or a colleague or I’m stuck in an emotional funk so I bring that to the dance floor and see what’s moving and what’s not moving. My class themes usually arise from this research. Sometimes they come from something else I experience on the dance floor, in the field but even then I explore my perspective and relationship to the ‘thing’ and find a way to distil it for class. So…Before I even arrive to set up my class I have had some sort of personal and physical experience with the Space I am about to open up and Hold.

If I have time during the day of my class, my preparation includes a process of me grounding myself, quietening my mind and returning to my body wisdom. I dance and sit and connect to source. I open myself to self-love and trust of the universe and the manifestation of being a vessel of this work to open the space for the people who come to class to receive what they need for their highest good. If I don’t have time for this at home I do a version of it during the warm-up time.

These are all my processes to assist me to get out of the way and be present and open to allowing the mystery of this work to do it’s thing. When I am centred I am much more resilient to be with whatever comes up. I am clearing myself, aligning myself and grounding myself so I can be available to ‘hold space’.

I used to get easily thrown off balance whilst teaching. Well actually while living too. A dancer might seem disinterested or even leave or someone might have an emotional situation and ‘Salvador the Saviour’ would switch on and ‘help’ this person or Empathetic Emi would over-feel alongside this person. I would get involved in the story. This drained me and most often left me feeling that I didn’t do good enough. I no longer allow myself to get involved in what might be going on. I focus on moving through the 5Rhythms map knowing it has all the medicine they need. I ‘hold’ them by doing the practice. I ‘hold’ them by witnessing their process, allowing it and observing what happens in my own body. This process anchors me and allows the dancers to continue their process. This ‘holding’ of integrity allows space for a silent dialogue between dancer and teacher; a circular energetic. I am available to respond to what is needed on the dance floor without attachment.

When I am clear and activated and centred I am available to ‘hold’ for others. Holding is like receiving a gift I cannot keep. Holding is breathing in and breathing out. Holding is being witness to sacredness, breathing in the dancer’s feelings and experiences with all it’s pain and joy and breathing it out with all it’s pain and joy. Holding is letting ‘stuff’ run it’s natural course. Holding is not rigid, it is fluid and flexible. It’s like having a shower, feeling the class like water, running down my body and into to the earth- filling and emptying. Holding is being the centred one in the room so dancers can go off centre and find their way back home. It’s like a lighthouse reaching from the deep undercurrents all the way to the stars; holding the channel open from earth to sky to support energy moving up and out and in and down. Holding space is letting you know you are not alone. Holding reaches out South and West embracing the group like a giant bear hug or a loving mother circling her arms for you to feel safe in or push against. Holding is holding awareness, staying present to everything that is happening without judgement or assumption or agenda. Holding has intention. My intention is to keep you moving however micro or macro, to keep you safe, to support you to your edge and help you find your way back if you get lost or go too far. The ‘space’ I am holding is the group container, well it’s actually more of a process than a container. I recently taught a workshop outdoors in the vast red sandy country near Alice Springs. The circle of trees surrounding our dusty dance floor held space with me, as did the moon, the sun and the clouds. Nature held space by standing strong and present and constant. I held space by guiding the dancers through the map, the ‘space’ was our journey together; the beginning, middle and end of the workshop as a process. Me, a Tour Guide, keeping everyone moving.

In a studio setting, I like to prepare the space by clearing as much junk out as possible. Clear space, clear mind, fresh start, open possibilities. I don’t have many set up rituals however I do like to smudge to help clear the space and ground me in my body. Sometimes I feel a candle is needed to help hold the space with some gentleness and quiet reflection.

The end of a class can throw me off centre, literally. People asking for music, sharing their experiences, asking me questions. I require a moment to realign after being so open and aware to the group. Sometimes I can do this as part of the group closing circle and sometimes I just need to stand still, close my eyes, breathe and feel where I begin and end. There is usually a lot of energy coursing through me, even emotion that needs acknowledging, releasing or moving. After class I like to brush myself. I just use my hands to briskly brush over my body removing anything I picked up energetically. I have recently started to acknowledge myself for being present and holding space. (a personal pat on the back) and release myself from the role of holding space for others. I come back home to me, not that I ever left, but I guess it’s sort of like clocking off.

The practice of ‘holding space’ is a practice. I am delighted I started really hearing my students feedback about my space-holding and took the time to research my process. I started writing this piece several months ago and have been witnessing my own process and writing bits here and there. I will continue to be fascinated by how my practice of holding space evolves. Essentially though, I learnt that holding space starts with holding it for myself first; being present, witnessing and trusting that we all unfold exactly as we are meant to and being completely ok with that. It is a continuum of being as authentic as possible, moment to moment, breath to breath.

Through my own practice of 5Rhythms since my early 20’s, I have learnt through experiencing on the dance floor that when big, emotional, traumatic, numbing, painful shit comes up, I have the capacity to move through it. I trust that “if I put my body in motion, my psyche will heal itself” (Gabrielle Roth quote) My complete trust in this process and my trust in your ability to meet yourself in these places, radiates some sort of unspoken permission for you to heal, guide, awaken, face and love yourself. This is the space I hold with grace.

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